It may sound like something out of Brass Eye – 'one virus even disguised itself as a Girls Aloud track' – but if you were one of the 500,000 people thought to have downloaded the Trojan horse virus instead of that MP3 you were after, you wouldn't be laughing.

Users of the Limewire and eDonkey file-sharing networks have been hit by a fake MP3 that once downloaded causes the customary havoc to your PC.

While viruses and misleading file names aren't unfortunately a new thing, the scale of this current outbreak seems to dwarf anything seen in the last few years.

Unsurprisingly the news was broken by anti-virus company McAfee, who will no doubt look to sign-up a few worried punters in the process. But hey, it's not like having virus protection is a bad thing...

The virus hides behind fake music and video files on P2P networks. Once the user opens the file they are instructed to download a file named PLAY_MP3.exe. If you do this your computer is infected with 'adware' that fills the computer with the dreaded 'pop-up' adverts.

So consider this a public service announcement, though we could wonder what you were doing on file-sharing networks in the first place...!

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